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Little Big Diner, The Maiden, Eat With Jack O’Neill: Reviewed

Here's what the critics had to say this week

The Maiden
The Maiden
Katie Chudy for Eater

The Improper Bostonian's MC Slim JB visited Little Big Diner in Newton, unsure whether a Western chef could "live up to our manic ideals of proper ramen," and the appetizers immediately assuaged that fear. He praised the green papaya salad and called the grilled shrimp salad buns "similarly brilliant." The restaurant's Little Big Bowls "offer a hefty second-course option," Slim wrote, with two adornments making the rice bowls special: namuls (lightly pickled veggies) and the protein. "They're little symphonies of bright, clear flavors and contrasting crunchy and chewy textures," he wrote. Meanwhile, the ramen, which comes in three varieties, also delivered. The forest mushroom ramen was "oddly beautiful and refreshingly light," while the shio ramen had a luscious broth.

Janelle Nanos of The Boston Globe stopped by The Maiden, the sister of Sam's at Louis, which offers a selection of charcuterie, cheese, and oysters. The oysters "arrive fresh and expertly shucked," she wrote. The house-made duck prosciutto "is as good as any I've tried," Nanos continued, but she left the lamb-belly ribbons "untouched after a few bites." On the rest of the menu, the roasted oysters "are pause-your-companions-mid-sentence-because-they-need-to-try-this good," and the grilled prawns are exotic and tangy. The burger delivers, Nanos wrote, and the "hanger steak's miso-cola marinade winningly ups the umami quotient." While she found that the scallops were slightly underdone and the fettuccine "[fell] flat," The Maiden "is a welcome addition" to Southie.

The Globe's Sheryl Julian went to Eat With Jack O'Neill, where she found large-portioned dishes. The deviled eggs were "a perfect rendition," and the fish cake was under-seasoned but garnished with welcome smoked salmon. The fish and chips were outstanding, Julian wrote — "golden and deliciously crisp" and worth sharing. The restaurant also has savory pies, the best of which was the shepherd, made with lamb filling. Julian noted that the beautiful Irish breads arrived "stone cold," and some of the entrees were only warm. "The O'Neills seem to understand the hospitality and pub business, so these are probably growing pains," she wrote.

The Maiden

28 W Broadway, Boston, MA 02127

Eat With Jack O'Neill

1885 Centre St, West Roxbury, MA 02132 Visit Website

Little Big Diner

1247 Centre St., Newton, MA 02459

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